Salon Spa Equipment WARNING

Equipment WARNING
Christopher Brazy

Thinking of purchasing a new piece of equipment? Do you figure on it being the first in town to offer this hot new service that everyone is dying to get? This can be the WORST decision you could make if you don’t follow the guidelines below first.

Does equipment make you money?
It’s VERY easy to fall into a bad equipment situation. This can happen a few different ways. Either we get caught up in the hype of the “latest” gadget thinking it’ll bring us business, OR fall prey to a salesperson at a tradeshow OR we feel it’s necessary to complete our vision of our dream spa. RESIST the temptation to fall for any of these. A sure way to make LESS is by spending MORE which is what you want to avoid.

The Latest thing, but will it bring you money?
Getting a new piece of equipment is exciting. It offers hope. It allows for more and different types of sales. You want it and more importantly, your clients want it…at least, that’s what you believe.

We watch Oprah, and she spotlights some exciting new technology and it’s the new buzz word and possibly even the talk of the town. You’d like to be the first (and possibly only due to its hefty price tag) spa to offer it. You believe clients will RUSH to your door with money in hand. THAT would be great, but unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. I’m sorry, I wish it did, but I’ve never been one to sugar coat things or say things that you want to hear just to get your money. I am here to tell you how it is and this is how it is. Equipment doesn’t produce sales, YOU do.

A local doctor bought the brand new thermage unit and advertised “as seen on Oprah” and ended up giving away procedures for half off to try to move them. I also know of a spa owner that bought a microcurrent unit and then sold it unused 6 months later for half price. And these are just 2 of many examples of equipment that didn’t produce sales as hoped. Just look at all the used “unused” merchandise out there. People buy it thinking that it will produce sales, and it doesn’t. Sales come from people, not equipment.

Beware of the “income” sales chart
Salesmen are great people, the best. They’re always outgoing, friendly, the kind of person you’d like to hang out with …this helps them do their job. They do their best to get you caught up in the hype (this is especially effective at trade shows). Ironically the worst thing you could do at a trade show is browse the show floor looking at all the goodies to buy, but that’s another story.

I’ve even noticed that the sales message is online via “sales charts.” They do what most spa owners do. They multiply the cost of treatments by the number of hours in a day and show you that you can make $200/hour, 10x/day and that’s $730,000/year!!! Just by spending $10,000 on their microderm unit. What they forget to mention is the COSTS. Such as the person performing the service, the cost of the room since it won’t be able to do other services, credit card processing fees and MOST importantly …a dose of REALITY! Where would you get all those clients??? Just because you can treat X many people/day doesn’t mean you will.

The “Vision”
The deadliest of all traps, is our “vision” of our dream spa. Since it comes from us, from within, it’s hard to see as a potential danger.

Many feel the need to be a “one stop shop” offering EVERYTHING. So you need to offer massages, facials, manicures, pedicures, hair, wraps, waxing …and of course we shouldn’t turn away money so let’s also offer hydrotherapy, and vichy showers, a steam shower, mud baths, microderm, laser hair removal, photofacials, non- surgical facelifts, botox, etc., etc., etc.

Wraps are a good example. They require a wet room. A wet room is VERY expensive, tile, plumbing, green board and of course the actual multi-head shower or hydro-tub. The treatments are top dollar and just incredible. However, no one wants them. They’re requested maybe monthly. Factor in the cost of the caregiver, product, equipment and buildout of the room and it would take DECADES to break even. Whereas if you offered massages there you could turn it into a money maker for you. Don’t offer services until you’ve crunched the numbers on them to find out if they’re viable.

To sum up, the simple version is keep your costs down if you want to keep your profits up. The longer version is that it is NOT the equipment that people buy from. People don’t run up and hand over money because have this or that piece of equipment. “Your clients buy from you, what you recommend, because they like and trust you. So why not recommend something that doesn’t have a $10,000 price tag associated with it?” Now that you know the common scenarios where owners get caught, you can avoid them and save thousands in the process.

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